I have owned Accommodation Unlimited for 20 years and there are a few phrases that we hear all the time, these are in no particular order:
It was like that when I moved in
I’m looking for a property for my “neice”
Knowle West is the next up and coming area
There is however a phrase that we hear nearly every time from someone who comes to Bristol for the first time and this is:
I don’t know much about Bristol but I’ve been told that Clifton is nice and St Pauls is scary so I’d like to live in Clifton please.
Yes it is simplistic but for the majority of the last 20 years it was true. St Pauls was scary, but something is happening. St Pauls isn’t as scary as it was and people are specifically asking if we have anything to let in St Pauls. Prices are rising and voids are becoming rarer. So is St Pauls at last an up and coming area and if so why.
Before we look at this, I think a brief history lesson is in order. In April 1980 the Avon and Somerset police raided The Black and White café which led to a riot that made national headlines, St Pauls became notorious along with Toxteth and Brixton as areas to avoid. This perception that St Pauls is not somewhere to live has lasted 30 years despite the millions of public money thrown at St Pauls, so why is that perception beginning to change.
There is a two word answer to this: Cabot Circus. When Cabot Circus opened it created hundreds of jobs many of which were low paid shop work or restaurant work. A lot of these workers wanted to live close to their place of work and with the waterfront out of their league started looking at other areas where they could walk to work but not pay a fortune in rent, and so St Pauls which is next door to Cabot Circus was seen as a good alternative and people started to move in. In addition several forward thinking landlords saw the potential in St Pauls and started investing in low cost purpose built housing specifically for the rental market. So a perfect storm occurred, there was a demand for property and a market to fulfil it.
This is where Argyle Road fits in. Our client built a block of 20 flats on a brown field site specifically for rental. In 2 years he has seen rents rise 20% and has had an occupancy rate of nearly 95%. Another client has just put on a planning application for a mix of town houses and flats on a car park close to Portland Square, we know that when they come up there will be a waiting list of quality professional tenants.
It is not all positive, St Pauls still has issues and we would advise caution if you are looking to invest in your first buy to let. Certain roads are still “lively”, and we would recommend looking south of City Rd using Stokes Croft and Brigstock Rd as the east and west borders. Be aware also that the quality of some of the conversions to older properties can be questionable, but if you are looking for value and a long term investment then St Pauls should not be ignored. However we wouldn’t recommend St Pauls as a first time buy to let, this is for someone who is an experienced buy to let landlord
A quick search on Rightmove found a property currently for sale that we believe makes an attractive buy to let property. CJ Hole have a 1 bed purpose built flat for sale on City Rd. It also has an allocated secure parking space. It is on the market for £100,000. Assuming that it is in reasonable order we would expect a rental of £575 pcm. As usual the queen of mortgages Fiona Bolt of Vivid Financial Services has looked at the numbers and her opinion is as follows
“An experienced landlord – that is someone with at least one Buy to Let property already – could buy that with as little as a 20% deposit. For a mortgage of £80,000 you could have a rate of 5.79% giving you a monthly payment of £395.65 which gives good coverage and income.
If however you put in a 25% deposit then an experienced landlord could have a rate of 3.29% and a payment of £212.83 pm
All these fit well within the lenders criteria of the rental being 125% of the mortgage payment making it attractive to them and also allowing landlords to reduce the rent if they so wanted. In fact when I looked at what was available with a 25% deposit for that property 134 products were available from 17 different lenders showing what a good proposition this would be “
So in conclusion St Pauls is on an upward curve, it is not now and never will be the “New Clifton” but it is becoming an area that young professionals particularly those with a bohemian outlook will consider when looking for somewhere to rent. So when you are looking at potential buy to let investments don’t be afraid to look at St Pauls
dale trimble says: Hullo Peter
Good commercial thinking. Look at the change in Harlem, New York from the 1950s to the 1980s.
seritakaur says: yes finally i think everything you said is great very true ive a 4 storey prodject which ive purchased on city road but with funds not there its going to take abit of time to get it rented as it needs abit of work loving everything you as soon as i find some funds i will let you know i may also have two roomsgoing @ 4 brighton street st pauls in july 2012 i will let you know have a good sumer